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‘Centre closures will break up communities’ Islington service users say

The Town Hall will be putting £300,000 less each year into mental health centres in a cost-cutting move

22 March, 2019 — By Emily Finch

LESS funding going into the borough’s mental health day centres will see communities broken up, service users have warned.

The Town Hall will be putting £300,000 less each year into mental health centres in a cost-cutting move.

The council had already agreed to stop services at Mind Empower, a centre offering one-to-one work in Southwood Smith Street, Angel, in October last year. The centre will wind down services in the next couple of months with users moved to the borough’s three remaining centres.

Yesterday (Thursday), the council’s cabinet was expected to have approved plans for Islington Mind to continue running the borough’s Mental Health Recovery Pathway – including day centres – through a contract worth 22 per cent less than previous years.

A service user of an NHS-run mental health day centre in Isledon Road, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Tribune: “This borough has one of the highest mental health and suicide rates. All I am hearing lately is people committing suicide.

“These centres are like a community, the users have a connection with staff and a role to play in the centre – such as volunteering in the kitchen. By closing the centre they will be breaking up a community.”

Social services chief Councillor Janet Burgess said the council was committed to meeting the mental health needs of residents. She added that the Pathway “will improve the accessibility and quality of services that, among other things, help people to access employment support, social activities and after- hospital care to support their recovery, including weekend and evening access”.

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